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“Orphan”: A Movie That Reinforces Myths About Adoption PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jean Mercer   

Later in July, Warner Brothers will release a movie that is already eliciting serious concern among adoption groups and other child advocates. “Orphan” presents the story of an adopted child who is “damaged goods” and is dangerous to her adoptive family while appearing sweet and innocent to others. Superficially charming and friendly, she secretly menaces those who love her.

This movie is a regrettable homage to the myth that adopted children are emotionally disturbed. The myth of the antisocial adoptee dates back to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century and its belief that criminal or antisocial behavior was hereditary. Adopted children in those days had in many cases been born to unmarried mothers and given (or taken) for adoption for a variety of reasons--  because of  enormous social stigma for mother and child, because the mother could not earn her living and care for the child, or simply as punishment for immorality. The mother’s sexual activity and pregnancy were seen as evidence of her “weak moral fiber”, which was thought to be inherited by her child. A famous report describing the “Kallikak” family encouraged this view by describing two families said to be descended from the same male ancestor, but one side through the legitimate wife and the other through a girlfriend. (Are you thinking that the guy was the immoral one and the ancestor of all the kids? What a thought; after all, only women could be immoral!)      I recently heard an interesting comment on this point. Modern work on genetics has shown some links between emotional disturbance and genetic make-up. Referring to this, someone suggested that the genetic factors that contribute to mental illness or antisocial behavior could have a special connection to adoption. For example, a mother with genetic characteristics influencing emotional stability could pass those characteristics on to her baby, and the mother’s own instability could make it more likely that her baby went into foster care or was adopted. A father with similar genetic make-up would also give his genetic material to the baby, and because of his violent or irresponsible behavior might also make it more likely that the child was reared by a different family. Thus, the probability of genetically-influenced mental illness could be greater among adopted than among non-adopted children.

The person who suggested this concluded that such events would explain the phenomenon shown in the movie “Orphan”, and indeed it is a plausible explanation. However, the essential question remains: Is there such a phenomenon as a significantly higher level of  antisocial behavior among adopted children? Particularly, is there a pattern like that shown in the movie, where pleasant social behavior prevails outside the adoptive family, but terrifying antisocial behavior is directed toward familiar caregivers? If there is no phenomenon, it is irrelevant to discuss a plausible explanation we could give for such a phenomenon, if it existed. However, it does not seem to exist in the real world, as we are shown by current information about the development of both early-adopted and late-adopted children  from the extensive work of Michael Rutter  and his large research group. These investigators began their work more than 10 years ago, when adoption to the West from Romanian orphanages was first permitted. The children from these orphanages were notoriously neglected in the institutions. Their parentage was no less likely than any other group’s to include genetic factors influencing mental illness or antisocial behavior. Many had been exposed prenatally to alcohol, drugs, and disease. We can hardly imagine a group with more initial strikes against them. Many of them were developmentally delayed in physical and cognitive ways. Yet, the research group concluded, most did very well and caught up developmentally within a few years after they were adopted. (For more information, see Rutter, M. [2002]. Nature, nurture, and development: From evangelism through science toward policy and practice. Child Development, Vol. 73, pp. 1-21; also, Sharma, A., McGue, M., & Benson, P. [1998]. The psychological adjustment of United States adoptive adolescents and their non-adopted siblings. Child Development, Vol. 69, pp. 791-802.) Is there other systematic research evidence that supports my statement that these beliefs about the problems of orphans are myths? Yes, there is. An excellent short article summarizing some of that work appeared in 2007 in the “Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter” (Demick, K. “Challenging the common myths about adoption”. Vol. 23 (4), p. 8).

Adoption seems to be a very effective developmental intervention for children who have gotten off to a bad start. This makes sense with respect to the effect of genetic factors, as the phenotype or developed characteristics of the individual are generally shaped by the interaction of genetic and environmental causes, and very rarely by genetic influences alone. All right, it seems that adopted children generally do well even though they have had troubled beginnings. But when they are bad, how bad are they? Is there such a thing as the pattern of behavior shown in “Orphan”---- a pattern in which desirable social behavior toward outsiders contrasts with viciously antisocial behavior with the adoptive family? There does seem to be something faintly familiar about this if it occurs at a very mild level; most parents have probably noticed that their children “behave better” with neighbor adults or more distant relatives and save their tantrums for Mom and Dad. But that common occurrence should not seduce us into thinking that there is necessarily a similar phenomenon at a more intense level. In fact, no accepted diagnostic approach describes a category in which the child is sociable and well-behaved outside the family and dangerously antisocial within it. (However, there are popularized materials that claim to recognize such a pattern as a kind of “attachment disorder” not known or understood by conventional psychologists.)

In spite of these facts—general good development among adopted children, and the absence of the behavior pattern shown in “Orphan”-- the old myth about genetic flaws in adopted children has been reinforced by a more current myth. Promulgated by practitioners of unconventional and potentially dangerous child mental health treatments, this myth about adopted children states that such children invariably suffer from “attachment disorders” even if adopted on the day of birth. (I have published two books that tell more about this: “Attachment Therapy On Trial”, 2003 [with Larry Sarner and Linda Rosa], and “Understanding Attachment”, 2006.) Practitioners of various “attachment therapies” tell adoptive parents that a failure to treat their children with these unconventional methods will result in their developing into serial killers; Jeffrey Dahmer is suggested as an example of what can happen if a child goes without the suggested treatment.

The more recent myth is steadily repeated in newspaper articles, made-for-TV movies, and now in a “summer movie” appealing to the general public. What are the facts about issues like attachment and their impacts on adopted children? Can the adoption experience itself cause serious mental illness? There are several experiential factors that are related to developmental outcomes following adoption. Probably the most important one is age at the time of adoption. Babies adopted within the first few months after birth are very similar to non-adopted babies in their development. Babies who are adopted toward the end of the first year are likely to show some unusual attachment behaviors at the time, but if well cared for do not show long-term effects. Later-adopted children are more likely to show mood or behavioral disorders that require professional help than non-adopted children--- however, it is hard to tell whether some of their parents are prone to seek professional help because they already believe the myths about adopted children.

The development of adopted children is also influenced by the circumstances of their adoption, which in turn can be related to the age at which they are adopted. Babies adopted at birth have little or no experience other than that with their adoptive parents, but older babies and children may have experienced neglect and abuse. In fact, it is possible that their experiences were so severe that the birth parents’ parental rights were legally terminated, the children placed in foster care, and then (whether sooner or later) placed in an adoptive home. Depending on the child’s experiences, the number of changes of custody, and the child’s own resilience or vulnerability, children adopted under those circumstances may (or may not) be more inclined to develop emotional and behavioral disorders than the average non-adopted child. Finally, the developmental outcome for adopted children can depend on the care they receive in their adoptive family. Neither birth parents nor adoptive parents necessarily provide a “good fit” for a specific child, for one thing. In addition, adoptive parents are actually somewhat more likely to behave abusively than birth parents are. Children adopted in toddlerhood or later may be difficult for their adoptive parents to “read”, and their communications about wanting to be near their caregivers may not be very clear; parents who do not receive any guidance in dealing with this issue may not do a very good job.

So, is it completely impossible that a story like the one told in “Orphan” could really happen?  It is not likely that a seriously disturbed child would seem angelic to some, demonic to others. However, there are a very small number of children, both adopted and non-adopted, who show very early signs of severe emotional disorder. One well-known example was Malcolm Shabazz, the (non-adopted)  grandson of Malcolm X, who showed signs of early onset schizophrenia and violent behavior toward his schizophrenic mother at age 3  and who at 12 set a fire that killed his grandmother. These few incidents of serious mental illness may also occur in adopted children, but they do not necessarily occur as a result of the adoption, as the myth would hold.

It is really a pity that Warner Brothers did not seek to improve public understanding of adoption issues by countering the existing mistaken beliefs. Instead, they seem to have worked further to entrench the popular myth  that adopted children are likely to be “crazy” and even dangerous. As I discussed in my book “Child Development: Myths & Misunderstandings” (Sage, 2009), there is little scientific support for these beliefs.“Orphan” may make an excellent scary movie for summer customers. I have no problem with it as such. My concern is that this presentation, like certain made-for-TV movies, will convince viewers that a myth is true, and prejudice them in many ways against adopted children and grown-up adoptees. Curiously, when I was writing “Child Development: Myths & Misunderstandings”, I almost left out the essay on beliefs about adopted children--  saying to myself, “Surely nobody thinks that any more!” But it seems they do think that, and with the release of “Orphan” they may be reinforced in their errors.

Jean Mercer - Richard Stockton College

 

 

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written by Otara, July 13, 2009
Very interesting read. We've jsut finished the adoption approval process in Australia and are now on the waitlist.

If its any comfort, very few if any of those myths seem to have come up during the evaluation/education process so far, other than perhaps a bit of implying that attachment issues are more likely (but not certain), but certainly not in the way discussed above.

The films premise seems well, bizarre, Ive not even heard of this as a stereotype, at best the myths I've heard have been the idea that they're more likely to have some problems, but nothing like that.
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written by Random Comment Generator, July 14, 2009
The premise of "Orphan" reminds me a bit of "Problem Child", except that that was a comedy and had a happy ending.
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written by Trez, July 14, 2009
Im assuming that Orphan is in fact a work of fiction?
If so I'm also hoping that most people will have the common sense to understand that this isn't real, and that the adopted child in the movie isn't representative of ALL adopted children in real life

I don't think there's been any one group thats not been demonified at some point by someone creating a work of fiction about them.

Nurses, nannies, secretaries, hitchhikers, cops, clowns (though they are all scary and eeeeeevil) and even magicians have been used as subjects at some point.

I'm a magician, and I still get booked for gigs, despite the fact that there are innumerable dastardly magicians in works of fiction.
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written by Otara, July 14, 2009
Theres a difference between adult professions, and a childhood experience being portrayed as inherently traumatic.

Yes it is fiction, but the examples arent really comparable.


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written by dolandilae, July 14, 2009
I got the impression that the Orphan in the movie was in some way supernatural, based on the comments from the orphanage stating that they had never heard of the girl. Of course, previews are often misleading and tend to tell a plot of thier own these days. If i were to guess, I'd say the movie will play a bit of homage to The Omen series, and probably walk to borders of plagurism with The Good Son.. the similiarities, even in the previews can't be ignored.

I guess its worth stating, that anyone that is unable to have a child naturally, yet desperately wants one, and lets this movie effect thier decision in considering adoption... its probably best that they aren't left to raise a child. Instead of looking at this movie as a negative impact on adoption, you could look at it as a survival of the fittest scenario... natural selection at work in a way that has little to do with genetics.
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Oh, come on.
written by Morrigan, July 14, 2009
It's a work of fiction. This whole thing is stupid and overblown. I can't believe fictional stories can still get people worked up and offended. It's like saying a movie is racist because its villain happens to be black.
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The Bad Seed
written by GusGus, July 14, 2009

This reminds me somewhat of "The Bad Seed," the little girl who was a murderer (and who wasn't an orphan).
.
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For those who say it is just a movie...
written by colin_young, July 14, 2009
check out this article from Salon: http://www.salon.com/env/featu...lliteracy/

Yes, it's just a movie, but the stories we tell do have a powerful effect on how we view the world.

Of course, from the snips of commercials I've seen while skipping over them on my DVR, I too came to the conclusion that it was some sort of supernatural thriller.
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written by Otara, July 14, 2009
I suspect its adopted children and other childrens view of them they're worried about, not adopting parents deciding not to adopt.

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written by bosshog, July 14, 2009
James Randi Educational Foundation
An Educational Resource on the "Paranormal, Pseudoscientific, and the Supernatural"

Where is this site going, anyway?
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Looks like a redo of the bad seed
written by gabriel, July 14, 2009
This movie looks like a remake of the bad seed. What is sad is that movies affect people. I think I remember a study that organ donations dropped off after a horror movie in the late '70's early '80 with Mike Douglas where doctors were murdering donors to get their organs. I know that anecdotal evidence isn't worth much but there is an adopted girl in our neighborhood who is good friends with my daughter and she is a wonderful and sweet child who hasn't killed anyone in her family in the six years we have known them.
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On the surface this movie seems to reinforce the myth of adopted children
written by sgreen4, July 14, 2009
THIS COMMENT CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE MOVIE.



This movie isn't really like 'The bad seed' or 'The good son'. On the surface it could seem to reinforce the myth that adopted children are bad but actually that's not the case in this movie. In the movie, a couple adopt a little girl who seems to be charming and wiser than her years. Eventually she turns bad. But actually they didn't adopt a little girl. They adopted an adult. She just looks like a little girl. She was a prostitute who has some strange disease that makes her look young. The movie has nothing to do with a disturbed child just a disturbed adult. I guess the moral of the movie is if you are going to adopt, make sure you are adopting an actual child.
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written by Steel Rat, July 14, 2009
So I shouldn't believe that people in Indian (from India) music videos really act like that.
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written by db102892, July 14, 2009
Our culture has many figures who were adoptees. Some real, some fictional. The Orphan movie is aimed at fictional adoptees who are evil. However, our greatest fictional hero -- books, comics and movies -- is an adoptee: Clark Kent. AKA Superman.
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written by LovleAnjel, July 14, 2009
This movie sounds like mish-mosh of several Law & Order: SVU episodes. An adult who passes herself off as a teen in the foster care system? Check. Adoptive children with severe emotional problems? Check. Bizarre kids who are sweet angels to strangers but destructive demons to people they are close to? Check.

Even when movies are 'original' they are not.
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Jumping to conclusions is not critical thinking
written by PCB28, July 14, 2009
As an earlier post pointed out


*spoiler alert*







the "orphan" is a 32 year old woman with a pituitary disorder that makes her look like a child.

Since when does the JREF post uninformed tripe such as this? You've seen the trailer so you know the plot of the movie?

Ugh, I can't believe I wasted five minutes of my life reading this post.
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Quibble.
written by warreno, July 14, 2009
This movie is a regrettable homage to the myth that adopted children are emotionally disturbed.


But that's not a myth. Any child old enough to remember the process of adoption is going to have a lot of psychological and emotional healing to do.

They aren't going to become antisocial monsters or killers or anything, of course, at least not to any degree differently from biological children in any given family; but to suggest that adoptees are otherwise exactly like biological children, that they don't have internal scarring that can take months, years or even decades to get past, is simply ludicrous.
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Well, ummmm...
written by Human Person Jr, July 14, 2009
Congratulations, Jean Mercer, on your myth-busting abilities, even if you're demolishing a myth I never heard of. I'm with bosshog ("Where is this site going, anyway?")and PCB28 ("Since when does the JREF post uninformed tripe such as this?).

Jump in there, BillyJoe, with a few choice non sequiturs, and we can call this one a wrap.
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Agree with PCB28 and others
written by Eric E., July 14, 2009
I must agree with PCB28 on this one. After having seen the film, its obvious there is much more going on than just the surface presentation of its marketing materials. One could argue that it's the conceptthat Warner Bros. is presenting which is troubling but I think we get into a dangerous area when we comment on a film's message a week before its national release without apparently having even seen it. Had the author indeed screened the film, I would have appreciated an acknowledgement of such and more specific references to her points in relation to the plot. As it stands, the article unfortunately brings to mind Catholic League and Focus on the Family diatribes which I always easily dismiss on the simple basis that usually, they haven't even seen the products in question.
Ms. Mercer raises some interesting issues, and I do appreciate the power film has to convey meaning and ideas to a mass audience. I also believe we need to exercise caution when we attempt to deconstruct said ideas.
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written by Jeremy Henderson, July 14, 2009
I'm really sorry, but this article is nothing more than knee-jerk "Think about the children!" reactionism to a film that will most likely only be notable for how quickly it's forgotten.

And given the spoilers presented here, it sounds like The Orphan may be a remake of an earlier Warner Brothers film:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HQP2tVtC8o
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written by monstrmac1, July 14, 2009
Unless every orphaned child in this movie is disturbed I don't see how it could possibly be considered an "homage to the myth that adopted children are emotionally disturbed."

If a movie's villain is black is that movie racist? Should we consider "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" to have sexist values because its antagonist is the Snow Queen? It all seems like a bunch of people pretending to be uber-sensistive as a means to promote their own agenda.

Also, I just scrolled up to the top of this page where the heading reads "James Randi Educational Foundation: an educational resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific, and the supernatural"

Anyone tell me how this article relates?
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Put me in with the majority
written by Zoroaster, July 14, 2009
There is no need to censor fiction based on the idea that people will think it's reality. The myth here is that there is a myth of the evil adopted child. On the contrary there are many more examples of stories about adopted children turning out to be great heroes. Not just Superman but also Moses, King Arthur and Luke Skywalker were predestined for greatness. Do we need to caution adoptive parents not to expect such greatness from their children? I agree with dolandilae that anyone who would really be influenced by the movie shouldn't be adopting anyway.
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@Bosshog
written by monstrmac1, July 14, 2009
Just realized I echoed your post, I would've quoted and credited you had I read it earlier, my bad.
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written by anyvainlegend, July 14, 2009
I'm a 26-year-old Australian male. I was adopted in 83 at 8 weeks. During the process of finding my natural parents I was given some material by the agency that spoke of the "unique challenges" of being adopted, and of adopting. There were some theories mentioned that centred around the special bond between natural mother and child that is developed post-birth, and that perhaps a newborn, while still very early in development, could actually be affected by a process like being born to a birth mother (who did actually have some contact with me in the maternity ward), to then being cared for by a foster mother for 2 months (possibly enough time to develop a new bond), to then being finally placed with the adoptive parents. I am told I cried incessantly for the first week of arriving in my new home.

I would say I have struggled with separation anxiety throughout my early life. I'd often be quite eager to please people who weren't part of my family, but ended up hurting those closest to me who cared the most, being especially rough on my parents. This could just be something completely unrelated, that many people experience regardless of being adopted or not. I hope that further studies will shed light on these kind of issues.

As for the movie: I don't think that it was about furthering stereotypes - even if it WASN'T about a 32-year-old with a pituitary disorder. Just like the Omen wasn't about furthering stereotypes about adoption.

It's fiction. You go to movies for light (and on occasion, heavy) entertainment. Although, if you must pick on a movie, pick on The Skeptic [2009].

And for the record, this is my first visit back to the JREF website since Randi quit doing the SWIFT newsletter style. Not impressed!
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written by Lahurongirl, July 14, 2009
The spoiler makes this entire article moot. Sorry.
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written by Otara, July 14, 2009
I dont think it necesssarily does.

The usual story line in these films is 'oh you're overreacting, its normal for them to be a bit disturbed' as a rationale for why the parents arent initially believed. Ie while the story is 'unreal' some of the 'facts' given in the storyline sound more believable and can get taken on as 'truth' and reinforce previously held stereotypes or even create them. CSI is an example of this, where memes enter the general consciousness that fingerprints can be checked in a matter of seconds and the like.

Now given I havent seen the movie I agree any concern might be premature or evne ridiculous, but the answers here have surprised me a bit, particularly the 'its common sense' argument that adopted children will experience problems with no supporting evidence, when the original article goes to some effort to cite reseearch that shows it doesnt seem to be so in practise.
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written by PCB28, July 16, 2009
Yes, it does. The argument is whether or not the movie reinforces stereotypes about adopted children. Considering the fact that the movie is not about an adopted child, the entire post is fallacious.
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Just a movie? Won't affect how people see adoption?
written by CFM, July 18, 2009
First, I am the adoptive father of an 8 year old girl, and she's perfectly normal.

However, I also follow a forum for a TV show on the Discovery Channel called 'Mythbusters'. On this forum, people write in and suggest topics to be confirmed or 'busted'. An alarmingly large portion of the postings are from people who've seen something in a movie and believe it 'might be true'. There are posts from people who've seen in movies and so believe that:
ninjas can run across water
that a skilled assassin can make bullets 'curve' in flight
that kung-fu masters can leap 50 feet into the air
you can survive a nuclear bomb if you hide in a refrigerator
a man with a stick that whistles in the wind can defeat an entire army (some anime cartoon)
a mutant with a sword can deflect bullets
and if you're superstrong you can throw a whale from the beach into the ocean by grabbing it's tail


All kinds of really stupid, ridiculous ideas that are entertaining IN A MOVIE but have no basis in reality, and yet there are any number of people who see the movies and accept what the see as truth without applying ANY rational thought or consideration.
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written by Zoroaster, July 18, 2009
I go to that forum as well, although I've generally abandoned it lately.

Although there is a little of what you describe by young and naive members, I think that most of "movie myths" posted are not necessarily believed by those who post them. This is one thing that turned me off to that forum. The show often tests myths from movies and most new posters on the forum are hoping to suggest a myth that will get on the show so they often choose things they've seen in a movie. I think it is often the case that they DO NOT believe the myth and want to see it proven that it WILL NOT work. They are almost always greeted with ridicule and derision for believing what they see in the movies when they are really only trying to supply ideas for the show.

I'll grant there are some pretty dim minds out there who will believe anything and can't separate fact from fiction but as I and others have said, do you really want those people adopting children and raising them to think the same way? And should the rest of us have to endure entertainment that is censored and dumbed down to be safe for the most gullible among us?
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Absurd Plot Still Perpetuates Myth
written by LindaRosaRN, July 19, 2009
"The spoiler makes this entire article moot. Sorry."

Actually, the movie, if it has the plot suggested above, STILL reinforces the myth that orphans, no matter what age, harbor a homicidal rage for being abandoned and will want to take it out on adoptive parents.

The absurd plot suggested here plays to the pseudoscience perpetuated by the Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Association about adoptees, i.e. that loss of a mother will cause an orphan to be consumed with a homicidal rage that controls their life from infancy into adulthood; any caregiver is their prey.

The Pre- and Perinatal Psychology guys are very strange (also the insanely brutal Attachment Therapists who promote their pseudoscience). They believe that attachment begins in utero, starting at conception. (Attachment behaviors actually begin around 8 months of age.) Or earlier, with the ova take on biorhythm of a woman. They claim a child, at minimum, can never feel comfortable being around a caregiver with different rhythms. And if attachment starts at conception, they say so can attachment disorders. An example they often give is of the trauma caused with a drunken sperm attacks a "defenseless ovum." Nurses frequently adopt these beliefs, claiming that attachment begins at birth and that breast feeding is necessary for the child to attach emotionally.

Skeptics have paid little, if any, attention to child development pseudoscience and myths. Alas, they not uncommonly dismiss it as not the purview of skepticism. That may be something that Jean Mercer, ace skeptic herself, may change. I highly recommend her new book: "Child Development: Myths and Misconceptions" (2009). It's a real eye-opener to learn what good research in this field has and has not established.
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written by Lahurongirl, July 19, 2009
While I understand what you are saying and agree that little attention is paid to the subject, I do not understand how that has anything to do with an adult with pituitary dwarfism? There is not an adopted child in this movie. The only myth in this movie is that pituitary dwarfs can act and look like children enough to be adopted. I would say the only people who should be upset are those with pituitary dwarfism. I don't hear them saying anything as of yet...
It reminds me of the tale where the man finds a "Dog" in Mexico that later turns out to be a rabid rat. Do you think anyone finds that story a reason not to adopt a pet? No, because It's not a story about pet adoption, it's a story about a rabid rat and a stupid person who cannot tell them apart from dogs.
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written by LindaRosaRN, July 20, 2009
I think you don't understand the plot fully. The "pituitary dwarf" is an orphan who was abandoned as a child by her parents. She is so consumed with a rage against her parents for abandoning her that she poses as a child in order to lash out at anyone posing as a caregiver. This plot plays fully into the myth of the dangerous, homicidal orphan. The myth also says that people outside the family think the child is perfectly okay. I predict that's the case with this movie, as well.

The worst quackery/pseudoscience in the USA today is called "Attachment Therapy." Proponents claim that all orphans (and most foster children) have "Attachment Disorder," a condition that causes them to become homicidal. This dire prediction is used to justify literally torturing adoptees into unquestioning obedience -- little Stepford Children, if you will.

Here's a quote from a website promoting Attachment Therapy and the quack diagnosis "Attachment Disorder":

"'Now we all have some degree of rage, but the rage of psychopaths is that born of unfulfilled needs as infants. Incomprehensible pain is forever locked In their souls, because of the abandonment they felt as infants.' (Magid & McKelvey 198smilies/cool.gif Some infamous people with Attachment Disorder that did not get help in time: Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Edgar Allen Poe, Jeffery Dahmer, and Ted Bundy."

Attachment Disorder Symptoms

• Superficially engaging & charming
• Lack of eye contact on parents terms
• Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
• Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly)
• Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone)
• Cruelty to animals
• Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
• Stealing
• No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
• Learning Lags
• Lack of cause and effect thinking
• Lack of conscience
• Abnormal eating patterns
• Poor peer relationships
• Preoccupation with fire
• Preoccupation with blood & gore
• Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
• Inappropriately demanding & clingy
• Abnormal speech patterns
• Triangulation of adults
• False allegations of abuse
• Presumptive entitlement issues
• Parents appear hostile and angry

From:
http://www.attachment.org/pages_what_is_rad.php

Do skeptics not think this is a topic worthy of their attention?
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written by Lahurongirl, July 20, 2009
You and I agree on the topic. I think it is BS. Everything you have posted is worth a look.I was simply saying that the spolier does not say that the woman was an orphan. She might be. I don't know. All the spoiler does say is that she is an adult and that was what I was basing my argument on.
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written by Lahurongirl, July 20, 2009
PS. I guess I am saying that this movie is not the way to bring up these topics as it does not seem to relate to them.
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written by LindaRosaRN, July 21, 2009
Other sources of "Orphan" spoilers, say that the woman had been an orphan. That, I hope you agree, changes everything. This fact is central to the plot. Why does she attack the adoptive parents? She has a homicidal rage because she was abandoned as a child. Alas, the myth and the movie appear to still be in locked step.

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written by kodabar, July 24, 2009
I'm adopted and I don't have the slightest problem with it. I couldn't care less. I don't like the way that adopted people are portrayed in films, TV or radio programmes. They are always disfunctional or some kind of plot point hangs on the fact that they are adopted. But that's just the way that fiction works, folks.

What is the point in a writer introducing an adopted character if there is no significance to that fact? Well, for them, there isn't. It would be nice to see some adopted characters that were normal, reasonably adjusted people, but it would never occur to a writer to introduce one. Sometimes, I like to think on the optimistic side and assume that certain characters in movies are adopted and are fine with it, which is why their adoption is never mentioned. James Bond never mentions his parents, so I'm just going to assume he's adopted. Han Solo doesn't mention his parents, so he's adopted. And that's my attitude to it. Films, TV and radio are full of adopted characters, but just because they don't have a big sign above their head, we don't notice. Yup, that'll do. Some people have known me over twenty years and don't know I'm adopted, because it's just never come up in conversation. Assume the same of fictional characters and it all seems fine.

UK readers may be aware of The Archers (a long running radio soap about country people). The character of Matt Crawford was recently revealed to be adopted. He's gone a bit loopy in the plot and it's all down to his adoption. How tedious.
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Jean Mercer and Linda Rosa: "Attachment Therapy" As The Root Of All Evil?
written by IvanVanko, March 13, 2010
Dr. Jean Mercer also opined on this film in her Psychology Today. Not surprisingly, Linda Rosa joins in here, and tries to start a debate on attachment therapy.

Linda Rosa is affiliated with an organization called "Chidren in Therapy" and their website lists a number of therapists, who, in the opinion of the organization, practice dangerous and abusive therapy.

A closer look, though, shows some sloppy thinking. Very few of them have criminal records or have had their licenses suspended. It is clear Mercer, Rosa, and their cohorts (specifically: Larry Sarner and Monica Pignotti) have, in fact, complained to the licensing bodies appropriate to the therapists.

The fact that few, if any, have been suspended, let alone indicted or convicted is telling. Mercer et. al. have responded to this with a critique of the licensing mechanism. That is a flawed argument. Their basic allegations are of criminal behavior. Their position would be well supported by criminal convictions. Yes, those exist, but the facts of cases such as Candace Newmaker cannot be generalized to this list of attachment therapists.

I believe it also safe to say that things such as Scientology are much bigger "problems" in terms of quackery or pseudoscience than the therapies practiced by many people on their list. Having been a high ranking Scientologist, Monica Pignotti is well qualified to share with Mercer, Sarner, and Rosa tenets of Scientology such as the belief that radioactive materials can be disposed of with water, and that radiation collects in fat cells.

People have died because of Scientology, and there is no evidence whatsoever that Scientology helps ANYONE. Some of the therapists criticized by "Children in Therapy" can provide well documented results.

It would seem that Dr. Mercer, Dr. Pignotti, Mr. Sarner, and Ms. Rosa have some vendetta against these therapists, and they will use any available outlet to promulgate their ill-founded and unsupported accusations.

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Straw Man Arguments
written by MonicaPignotti, March 20, 2010
The comment above about me contains a straw man argument. My main point has never been based on criminal behavior (although in some instances it does exist) and I have never said that all of these therapists have criminal behavior. My main point has always been that these highly invasive therapies are being practiced on children, yet lack scientific evidence in the form of randomized clinical trials published in peer review journals to support their safety and efficacy. The recommended interventions include some extreme measures such as complete isolation of the child from anyone by the parents, taking the child out of school, forcibly restraining the child by having adult lay on top of the child and other measures that would lead a rational person to have serious concerns about their lack of scientific evidence for safety and efficacy. What licensing boards do or do not do is not evidence that a procedure is safe. The only evidence would be published, well designed randomized controlled clinical trials and the burden of proof is on these therapists who are out there, charging money for their services yet lack such empirical support, services that essentially have no more evidence for them than Scientology does. The evidence consists of anecdotal success stories and testimonials given to media and what little research there is, is highly flawed. One of the reasons Dr. Mercer and I are being targeted is that we published several scholarly critiques on certain forms of attachment therapy. There is no vendetta against therapists, only a concern about therapists that practice highly invasive therapies that lack empirical support.

That is the issue that is being evaded here. Instead, an all-out smear campaign on the internet is being conducted against critics of AT. For details see:
http://cyabuseaware.blogspot.c...story.html

Oh, and by the way, I was never a "high-ranking" Scientologist. I left 34 years ago in 1976 and when I was in, was highly rebellious and as a result, was always getting into trouble and never attained any rank at all.
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The Real Issues
written by MonicaPignotti, June 04, 2010
Here are some links to the real issues at hand and here are some links people can check out regarding one of the therapists we have criticized, so people can decide for themselves if we are just a group of cranks with a vendetta and "ill founded" accusations or whether we have legitimate concerns.

Ronald Federici, PsyD, has recommended a prone restraint procedure in his self-published book which I and others have expressed concerns about and this is why we are being so virulently attacked.

http://www.amazon.com/Help-Hop...62&sr=8-2

Click on “Look Inside” and search in the book for “SEQUENCE ONE HOLDING” and go to where this phrase appears on page 111.

What the evidence shows and questions for Dr. Federici:

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...-federici/

http://phtherapies.wordpress.c...-responds/

Let's discuss the issues at hand. Fortunately, I am not a victim of these therapies and so have no reason to have any sort of vendetta. It is my attackers who have a vendetta against me for daring to challenge them. My attackers are choosing to focus on my distant past which I have always been completely up front and honest about, and neglect to mention that since leaving Scientology and TFT years ago, I have gotten a PhD with extensive coursework in research and statistics, as well as in evaluating research and claims made by mental health professionals about interventions. A search of PsychInfo will reveal that I have numerous peer reviewed publications on evidence based practice and debunking pseudoscience and am well qualified to evaluate claims being made about therapies. Federici, on the other hand, whose doctorate is a PsyD, as far as I could determine from searching PsychInfo and Medline databases, has no first authored peer reviewed research publications that are published in journals listed by these databases, so let's not try pulling the authority card on me. That being said, in this case, evaluating the research does not require any special qualifications other than the ability to conduct a library database search, because there is no peer reviewed research showing the methods in the aforementioned self-published book to be safe, let alone effective.

To have proponents of these methods call me a pseudoscientist when I have been clean and sober from pseudoscience for six years and have numerous publications debunking pseudoscience, is rather like a drunk, staggering over to his computer and calling someone who has been clean and sober from an alcohol abuse problem for six years, an alcoholic.
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